Generation Z and Millennials Are More Concerned About Climate Issues

The Indonesian Political Indicators Institute recently conducted a survey on the perceptions of voters from generation Z and millennials to the issue of the climate crisis in Indonesia. As a result, these novice and young voters are increasingly concerned about this issue.

Executive Director of Indonesian Political Indicators Burhanuddin Muhtadi said the survey, which was held with the CERAH Indonesia Foundation, took place from 6 to 16 September 2021. Respondents in this study, he said, reached the age of 17-35 years spread across all provinces, both in rural and urban areas. .

Executive Director of Indonesian Political Indicators Burhanuddin Muhtadi.  (Photo: Mouab/Sasmito)

Executive Director of Indonesian Political Indicators Burhanuddin Muhtadi. (Photo: Mouab/Sasmito)

He explained that the sampling in this survey used the method stratified multistage random sampling. The number of samples reached 4,020 respondents consisting of 3,216 people aged 17-26 years, and 804 people aged 27-35 years. Assuming this method has a fault tolerance (margin of error) as much as 2.7 percent and a confidence level of 95 percent.

The survey results in this study, said Burhanuddin, were quite surprising but also encouraging. Both generation Z (17-26 years) and millennial generation (27-35 years) who know or have heard of the term climate change account for 82 percent.

Furthermore, the results of this survey also show that these young people place the environment as one of the most worrying issues, apart from corruption. Those who are worried about the environment, the percentage is 82 percent, while those who are worried about corruption are 85 percent.

Smoke covers forest during a fire in Kapuas Regency near Palangka Raya in Central Kalimantan province, September 30, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan)

Smoke covers forest during a fire in Kapuas Regency near Palangka Raya in Central Kalimantan province, September 30, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan)

He explained that as many as 53 percent of respondents felt that climate change had harmed Indonesian society at this time. According to respondents, the order of problems that are most concerned at this time and in the coming years related to climate and weather are extreme weather (42 percent), accumulation of waste and plastic materials (36 percent), health (35 percent), deforestation ( 33 percent), and air pollution (24 percent).

“We also asked them the level of concern about various issues. Corruption is indeed at the highest rank, which is very concerned, but the issue of environmental damage has also received great attention from young people,” said Burhanuddin in a press teleconference in Jakarta, Wednesday (27/10).

“And this is frankly different when we compare it with the general survey. In the general survey, most of the issues are economic, but when compared to young people, the issues are not only economic, but corruption and environmental damage,” he added.

The action of the environmental group, River Warrior, in front of the United States Consul General's office in Surabaya, rejected the United States' plastic waste in Indonesia.  (Photo: Mouab/Petrus Riski)

The action of the environmental group, River Warrior, in front of the United States Consul General’s office in Surabaya, rejected the United States’ plastic waste in Indonesia. (Photo: Mouab/Petrus Riski)

Burhanuddin appealed to policy makers – in this case the government and politicians – to capture the concerns of young people regarding these two issues by making concrete actions through various existing policies. Moreover, the two samples represent approximately 80 million voters in the country or 40 percent of the total voters in the 2024 General Election. Of these, 78 percent have participated in the 2019 Election, and 84 percent stated that they will participate again in the 2024 Election.

“Now Indonesia is undergoing a process of rejuvenation, so it is important to take pictures of young people’s opinions because in theory democratic governance, the democratic quality of democratic governance will be better, if the policy makers including the politicians, are able to absorb a significant population of young people,” he said.

Political Parties Have Not Take The Climate Crisis Issue Seriously

Based on the survey results, these young people also think that there is not a single political party in Indonesia that has great attention in efforts to stop or overcome climate change/crisis.

“However, what is also interesting is that the survey shows that political parties are considered to have not paid attention and have not made the climate crisis a priority on the political agenda. Almost all parties only scored below five percent,” explained Burhanuddin.

This finding was also agreed by the Executive Director of the CERAH Indonesia Foundation, Adhityani Putri. Putri said that actually Indonesia has a big role for the world in overcoming this increasingly worrying climate crisis issue. However, he said, it was necessary political will which is very strong. He assessed that the issue of climate change was not a major issue on the agenda of political parties in Indonesia.

Excavators are clearing forest in South Sumatra.  (Photo: Reuters)

Excavators are clearing forest in South Sumatra. (Photo: Reuters)

“In political debates, the climate crisis has always been an agenda hidden behind the environment and at the top of the list of questions on every political stage. No political party has a platform on the climate crisis. Indeed, there are many Indonesian politicians who speak fluently about the climate crisis, but is it high on the agenda?” said the Princess.

Indonesia’s main agenda, he said, was not always about the climate crisis. Even though this issue has a multidimensional impact, and also the solution to the climate crisis can be transformative for the economy and for the community landscape Indonesian politics and society.

He also hopes that the results of this survey can open the eyes of politicians about the importance of the climate crisis issue so that it becomes a priority issue on the agenda of each political party ahead of the 2024 election.

Not a Populist Issue

Bogor Mayor and National Mandate Party (PAN) politician Bima Arya admitted that the climate crisis has not become a populist issue in the eyes of Indonesian politicians.

“This is a historic survey in Indonesia. Today in Indonesia, environmental issues, sustainable development, and climate change has not become a populist issue for politicians during elections and local elections. There are two possibilities, namely that politicians do not understand the issue or do not understand how to reach new and young voters to vote on the issue and then communicate the issue. So more make it as gimmick. Even though young people like substantial and issues climate change sexy in the eyes of young people,” said Bima.

Bogor Mayor Bima Arya visited children practicing the Lion (dragon) dance in Bogor in preparation for the Bogor Street Festival.  (courtesy: Bima Arya)

Bogor Mayor Bima Arya visited children practicing the Lion (dragon) dance in Bogor in preparation for the Bogor Street Festival. (courtesy: Bima Arya)

Bima said he himself was shocked by the knowledge of his two children – who are still sitting in junior high and high school – about the climate crisis. According to him, not all government officials understand this issue like his two children.

“These are my children who are still in junior high and high school, they are very fluent, I was surprised, how did you know? Yes, it is taught at school, discussed with friends, then on social media, there are questions about it everywhere and they are not only aware but also concern and care. This is what our politicians don’t realize, this extraordinary issue,” he explained.

The findings of this survey, he said, also become a criticism in itself, especially to the government, to be able to do more in an effort to overcome the problem of the climate crisis in the future. According to him, the government cannot act alone in dealing with this. It takes real support and action from all levels of society so that the climate crisis can be handled properly. [gi/ab]

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